Mr. Whittingdale: I welcome the Government's statement this morning, which appears to address a number of the recommendations made by the Select Committee on reform of the libel system. However, on the specific issue of libel tourism, is the Secretary of State aware that only last month the Senate Judiciary Committee voiced support for federal legislation in America to allow US courts to negate the judgments of UK courts in libel actions, on the basis that UK courts do not give sufficient recognition to the need for freedom of expression? Does he accept that that is a matter of profound concern that we need to address as a matter of urgency?

Mr. Straw: Yes. The hon. Gentleman properly draws attention to the fact that our defamation laws have developed in rather an unbalanced way. They are now, for example, having a chilling effect on legitimate and important scientific research. We therefore have to bring them back, not into direct symmetry with those of other jurisdictions, but into a better balance.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): Notwithstanding that, does the Secretary of State accept that our success in a number of sports in recent years, particularly cricket and golf, has been largely due to the huge amount of money that has gone into those games as a result of the sale of broadcasting rights? The ECB has estimated that listing the Ashes tests will cost it £100 million. Will the Secretary of State think about that very carefully when he considers the Davies report? If he proceeds with the listing, huge damage will be done to grass-roots sports throughout the country.

Mr. Bradshaw: We will consider all representations very carefully. The hon. Gentleman has made an important point about the potential impact on some of the sporting organisations, although some of the figures that are being bandied about may be open to challenge. There is a balance to be struck between the understandable desire of sporting organisations to make a lot of money by selling television rights and the right of the public to have access to some of the big sporting occasions that the nation enjoys.

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what recent assessment he has made of the risks of the recreational use of methadone; [314415]

(2) what recent representations he has received on the classification of methadone; and if he will make a statement. [314416]

Mr. Alan Campbell: Based on the hon. Member's subsequent clarification, this answer addresses mephedrone, not methadone.

Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is a stimulant drug which is structurally related to cathinone and methcathinone, both of which are controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), whom we are required by statute to consult before bringing forward legislation under the 1971 Act to Parliament, is currently considering the harms of mephedrone and related cathinone compounds as a priority. The ACMD's latest letter on its consideration of these drugs is available at:

In addition to the ACMD's letter, representations have been received from Members of Parliament and the public.

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what arrangements are in place for the provision of footage obtained from the broadcast pool camera at the Iraq Inquiry to news agencies and news providers; [314411] [Official Report, 1 March 2010, Vol. 506, c. 12MC.]

(2) if she will make it her policy to ensure that all video news agencies providers have access to low-resolution footage from the broadcast pool camera at the Iraq Inquiry.

9 Feb 2010 : Column 895W

Tessa Jowell: The Cabinet Office is not responsible for the broadcast footage of the Iraq Inquiry. The UK Broadcasting Pool, a partnership between the BBC, Sky News and ITN, is responsible for distributing footage from their cameras in the Inquiry's hearing room. Other broadcasters would need to make arrangements with the pool, not the Government or the Inquiry. There is already an agreement to provide footage to all Iraqi broadcasters at no cost.

The Cabinet Office, as the sponsoring department for the Inquiry, has a contract with the Pool to receive footage for use on the Iraq Inquiry website, which is made available to the public for free.

19. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress has been made in establishing the UK Council for Child Internet Safety; and if he will make a statement. [320694]

Dawn Primarolo: The UK Council for Child Internet Safety was established on 29 September 2008 and now has over 160 members from Government, law enforcement, the third sector and industry.

In December last year, UKCCIS launched its first child internet safety strategy 'Click Clever, Click Safe'. We believe this is the first such strategy of its kind anywhere in the world and represents a real step forward in the development of work to keep children safe online.

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what discussions his Department has had with (a) the National Lottery Commission and (b) Camelot on Camelot's application to operate certain commercial services in addition to the National Lottery; and if he will make a statement; [320293]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure the National Lottery Commission consults stakeholders and other interested parties on the implications for its core National Lottery business and brand of Camelot's application to operate certain commercial services; and if he will make a statement. [320294]

Mr. Sutcliffe: My officials and I have regular meetings with both the National Lottery Commission and Camelot about the full range of National Lottery regulation issues, and the possibility of Camelot providing commercial services which are ancillary to the operation of the National Lottery has been discussed in that context.

The approval of the National Lottery Commission is required before the National Lottery operator can undertake any ancillary activity and the commission is currently considering a proposal from Camelot to offer commercial services using National Lottery terminals. The commission will consider the proposal in light of its statutory duties and therefore will take into account issues such as the implications for the core National Lottery business and brand.

The commission is currently consulting on the EU/competition law considerations which may arise from the proposal, as these are issues on which those already offering such services have a direct interest. The commission considers that it will have sufficient information to exercise its discretion properly, without consulting on the implications for the core National Lottery business and brand.

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much was spent (a) in total and (b) per head of population on road improvements in (a) England, (b) the East of England and (c) Essex in each of the last 10 years. [323332]

Mr. Khan: A table containing the information requested has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

The table includes estimated expenditure on motorways and trunk roads in the East of England, but expenditure on the strategic road network is not available by local authority boundary. The table also excludes shadow tolls for design, build, finance and operate contracts on the strategic road network.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): Notwithstanding that, does the Secretary of State accept that our success in a number of sports in recent years, particularly cricket and golf, has been largely due to the huge amount of money that has gone into those games as a result of the sale of broadcasting rights? The ECB has estimated that listing the Ashes tests will cost it £100 million. Will the Secretary of State think about that very carefully when he considers the Davies report? If he proceeds with the listing, huge damage will be done to grass-roots sports throughout the country.

Mr. Bradshaw: We will consider all representations very carefully. The hon. Gentleman has made an important point about the potential impact on some of the sporting organisations, although some of the figures that are being bandied about may be open to challenge. There is a balance to be struck between the understandable desire of sporting organisations to make a lot of money by selling television rights and the right of the public to have access to some of the big sporting occasions that the nation enjoys.

8. Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): Whether he plans to take steps to reduce the incidence of libel tourism; and if he will make a statement. [323391]

The Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Jack Straw): I thank the hon. Gentleman for the recent report on this issue by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which he chairs. In parallel, in January I established a working group on the libel laws, and I have today, by written ministerial statement, published that report. As the latter makes clear, action on libel tourism is urgently needed and will be taken as soon as possible. That will be part of a draft libel Bill that we intend to publish in the new Parliament, as well as other more immediate action that we believe, and the working party believes, could be undertaken by changes in the procedural rules and in judicial practice.